We all tend to relax – or be lax – on weekends; that’s what they’re for, right? But loosening our grips on a healthy lifestyle, even just for the weekend, can sabotage our efforts to reach health and fitness goals.
Recent studies indicate that we tend to take in more calories on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The exact number varies from an average of 85 calories per weekend day to 115, and while that may not seem like much, it adds up. A pound is 3,500 calories, so 345 extra calories a week will lead to nearly a pound after 10 weeks — or an extra five pounds over a year.
You may think, "So I eat a little more on Saturday night, I’ll exercise that off on Sunday." Sunday arrives, yet you find excuses not to exercise.
- Church starts at 9 a.m.? Then get up at 7 a.m. and walk a few miles. You rise early to workout on weekdays, why not now?
- Not a morning exerciser and you can’t miss 60 Minutes or Alias on Sunday evening? Tape or TiVo it and hit the gym.
- Your wife wants your help in the garden? Good news – the experts deem yard work real exercise.
- Watching your kids’ baseball games all day? Stand up while you watch: standing burns more calories than sitting. Or take a walk between games.
- Do you just not feel like working out because, after all, weekends are for relaxing? Just a few minutes of exercise is better than none. Keeping up with your exercise routine will help you reach your fitness goals that much faster, and once you get into the groove of working out, you’ll crave it. Promise.
And it doesn’t stop with fitness. While it’s easy to drink the recommended eight glasses of water a day when you have a water bottle sitting on your desk at work, where you’re stuck for half your waking hours, weekends are different. You’re watching your kids’ soccer games or shopping or doing yard work or visiting the craft booths at the local art fair. Carrying a water bottle with you everywhere you go just doesn’t seem feasible.
Introducing the fanny pack. A fanny pack holds one or two water bottles, and it can go with you anywhere. Just remember to fill the bottles up after you drink them dry. Keep your eye on the prize: a healthier you. Be conscious of what you eat during the weekends, stick to your healthy lifestyle of eating right and exercising just like you do during the week. If you need to reward yourself for the hard work (or the diligence you’ve kept to your diet) through the week, see a movie or get a massage. DON’T get the cheesy fries appetizer or order an extra margarita – the study mentioned in the third paragraph shows that the additional weekend calories come from fat and alcohol.
On weekends, give yourself a break, but make it a healthy one.